• Date: 12 August 2017
  • Time: Saturday, 8pm

On the opening night of Occulture: The Dark Artsartists Simon Cuming and Jason Greig deliver an improvised noise performance based on the diminished-fifth interval, also known as 'the Devil's tritone'.

This performance follows Robet Buratti's lecture, Artist as Prophet: Re-visioning the Creative Consciousness, at 6pm.

Cash bar open from 7pm.

  • Date: 12 August 2017
  • Time: Saturday, 6pm

Artist as Prophet: Revisioning the Creative Consciousness  

Robert Buratti gives an illustrated lecture on the history of esoteric art, its major themes and practitioners. Buratti is the curator of the exhibitions Window to the Sacred (2012–14) and Aleister Crowley: The Nightmare Paintings (2011–12), and director of Buretti Fine Art Australia.

Cash bar open following the lecture.

At 8pm artists Simon Cuming and Jason Greig give an improvised noise performance.

  • Date: 12 August 2017
  • Time: Saturday, 1pm and 3pm

1pm Artists Simon Cuming, Dane Mitchell and Lorene Taurerewa discuss their work. Robert Buratti talks about Aleister Crowley. In conversation with curator Aaron Lister.

3pm Artists Yin-Ju Chen, Jason Greig and Fiona Pardington discuss their work. Robert Buratti talks about Rosaleen Norton. In conversation with curator Aaron Lister.

At 6pm Robert Buratti gives a lecture, Artist as Prophet: Revisioning the Creative Consciousness. And at 8pm artists Simon Cuming and Jason Greig give an improvised noise performance. Cash bar.

  • Date: 14 August 2017
  • Time: Monday, 6pm

André Bishop of Athfield Architects presents a selection of unbuilt designs developed for Wellington Waterfront from the last 50 years. 

While all architecture practices have a drawer full of unrealised schemes, Athfield’s unbuilt schemes along Wellington’s waterfront encapsulate the spirited approach his practice has conveyed since 1968. 

City Talks is an ongoing series initiated by the New Zealand Institute of Architects Wellington Branch and presented in partnership with City Gallery Wellington. Its purpose is to foster discussion about architecture for a broader audience in a city that cares to openly discuss ideas relevant to our future.

The first New Zealand exhibition from award-winning British artist John Stezaker opens at City Gallery Wellington in late August. Known for his distinctive, often deceptively simple collages, Stezaker has been working since the 1970s, but only recently gained major recognition. In 2011, he had a retrospective at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, and, in 2012, he won the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize, even though he does not take photographs. 

Lost World includes 40 collages, along with five sculptures and a video Crowd, which presents thousands of populous film stills, twenty-four per second, in a bewildering blur.

Stezaker says collage is about stuff that has ‘lost its immediate relationship with the world’ and ‘involves a yearning for a lost world’. His collages feature obsolete images: antiquated film stills, actor and actress head shots and vintage postcards. 

In this time of Photoshop, which makes melding images a breeze, Stezaker prefers to make collages the traditional way, working with his source images as he finds them, exploiting the ways they fit and don’t fit together. 

The Guardian called Stezaker the ‘master of slicing and splicing’. He explores a repertoire of collage techniques. He places postcards on head shots, creating surreal fusions of landscape and face. He grafts head shots to create new gender-and-genre-blending characters. He crops or cuts holes in images to reorient their dramas and reroute their meanings. 

“There is something very odd, even unnerving about cutting through a photograph,” Stezaker says, “It sometimes feels like I am cutting though flesh.”

City Gallery Chief Curator Robert Leonard says, “Stezaker’s work is nostalgic. His images hail from a pre-feminist age, when men were men and women were women, when gender was more defined and constrained—especially in the movies. Stezaker seems to both revel in and disrupt stereotypes, making them dance to his own tune.”

Lost World will travel on to Govett-Brewster Art Gallery (9 December 2017 – 4 March 2018) and Christchurch Art Gallery (24 March – 22 July 2018). The accompanying exhibition catalogue features an essay by curator Robert Leonard and an interview with the artist by British art critic David Campany. John Stezaker is represented by The Approach, UK. 

John Stezaker Lectures

Auckland, Thursday 17 August, 6:30pm, Starkwhite 
Christchurch, Tuesday 22 August, 6pm, Christchurch Art Gallery
Wellington, Saturday 26 August, 2pm, City Gallery Wellington 

John Stezaker: Lost World, 26 August – 19 November 2017
City Gallery Wellington, Free entry 

For all media enquiries, contact Olivia Lacey, 021 022 40312, Olivial@experiencewellington.org.nz

Image: John Stezaker Mask (Film Portrait Collage) CCVXI 2016. Courtesy The Approach, London.

  • Date: 8 - 9 September 2017
  • Time: Friday 10am–8pm | Saturday 9.30am–5pm
  • Cost: $150 | $80 concession

This symposium will consider how exhibitions of contemporary Māori art have been curated and how they might be curated in the future. Ranging from marae-centred projects to the Venice Biennale, it will address early and ongoing self-organisation by artists' collectives and agencies as well as the work of specialist Māori-art curators. Through two dimensions—Tai Ahiahi (reflections) and Tai Awatea (foreseeable directions)—it will explore philosophies and politics, pathways and pragmatics, expectations and responsibilities, ambitions and limitations.

Speakers include Mario A. Caro (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Brett Graham, George Hubbard, Robert Jahnke, Ngahiraka Mason, Darcy Nicholas, Piri Sciascia, Huhana Smith, Taarati Taiaroa, Awhina Tamarapa and Tim Walker.

The registration fee includes morning and afternoon tea on both days. Lunch is by attendees' own arrangement. (There are many options within close walking distance to the Gallery.) The concession rate applies to students, and Community Services and SuperGold cardholders.

Enquiries: rebeccaw@experiencewellington.org.nz

Tai Ahiahi///Tai Awatea has been organised by Peter Brunt, Chris Bryant-Toi, Robert Leonard, Conal McCarthy, Garry Nicholas, Megan Tamati-Quennell and Anna-Marie White, as a joint project by Toi Māori Aotearoa, City Gallery Wellington, and Victoria University of Wellington. It is supported by Creative New Zealand and Te Māori Manaaki Taonga Trust.

(programme updates will be available here in coming weeks) 

What is curating and how and where has it intersected with and framed contemporary Māori art? Where can curating go and what must it leave untouched? Before there were curators, and Māori artists organised their own shows, how were these shows put together? And what is the ongoing role of such self-organised exhibitions? How did museums start to work with contemporary Māori art in the absence of specialist curators? And how has the emergence of such curators changed the game? What are the pathways and pitfalls offered by international shows? And where to from here?


9.15am Registration
Gallery doors open to delegates from 9.15am for registration. Coffee and scones available.

10–10.15am Mihimihi

10.15–10.30am Visual Mihi
The Symposium Committee

What Is Māori Art? / What Is Curating? (Papers)
Convenor: Chris Bryant-Toi
What are the forms of Māori art and what are the forms of curatorial practice and how do they intersect? Where can curating go and what must it leave untouched?

10.30–11.15am Robert Jahnke on Māori art.

11.15am–12pm Taarati Taiaroa on a typology of Māori art exhibitions.

12–1pm Lunch break

1–2pm Mario A. Caro on indigenous curating.

2–3pm Phase 1: Māori Curating Māori
Convenor: Chris Bryant-Toi
Before there were curators, Māori artists organised their own shows. How were these shows put together? And what is the ongoing role of such self-organised exhibitions?
Darcy Nicholas

3–3.30pm Afternoon tea

3.30–5pm Phase 2: Museums Curating Māori (Panel)
Convenor: Conal McCarthy
This session focuses on three groundbreaking exhibitions which were the product of collaborations between Pākehā and Māori museum professionals:

- Piri Sciascia on Te Maori (1984–7)

- Tim Walker on Kohia ko Taikaka Anake (National Art Gallery, 1990)

- Awhina Tamarapa on Ngā Puna Roimata o Te Arawa (Museum of New Zealand, 1993)

5pm Wrap


5.30–8pm Track and Feel
Dionysos Avramides
Powerpoint and Plug
Te Kupu: The Good Taste Selector

Cash bar


9.15am Gallery doors open. Coffee available.

9.30am Karakia

Phase 3: Māori Curators (Interview)
Convenors: Robert Leonard, Megan Tamati-Quennell and Anna-Marie White
How has the emergence of Māori curators changed the game? Where to from here?

9.30–10.30am George Hubbard interviewed by Robert Leonard and Megan Tamati-Quennell.

10.30–11am Morning tea

11am–12.30pm Ngahiraka Mason and Megan Tamati-Quennell interviewed by Anna-Marie White.

12.30–1.30pm Lunch

1.30–2.30pm The International (Panel)
Convenor: Peter Brunt
What are the pathways and pitfalls offered by international shows? What difference do international shows make?
Mario A. Caro, Brett Graham and Ngahiraka Mason

2.30–3pm Afternoon tea

3–4.30pm Tai Awatea (Panel)
Convenor: Huhana Smith
'Back to the future' is a nice way to interpret the proverb 'Kia whakatōmuri te haere whakamua.'
Tracey Tawhiao, Mata Aho Collective and Nathan Pohio

4.30–5pm Wrap​

If you're travelling to Wellington for the symposium, you might also like to come along to Tuatara Open Late at City Gallery on Thursday 7 September, 5–10pm. Art, music, films, books, wine, beer, food.

About the Participants

Dion Avramides is a Sydney-based Cypriot Australian visual and sound artist.

Peter Brunt is Senior Lecturer in Art History at Victoria University of Wellington, where he teaches Pacific art. He is co-author of Oceanic Art, and co-curator of an upcoming exhibition on the art of Oceania at the Royal Academy, London.

Chris Bryant-Toi is a contemporary Māori artist, curator and tutor at Toimairangi Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. Under Ngā Puna Waihanga, he was a founding artist member of Te Taumata Art Gallery, Auckland, and later served as its Exhibitions Coordinator and Corporate Liaison Officer. He is a member of Te Rōpū Kaiāwhina Taonga for Museum Theatre Gallery Tai Ahuriri, Napier.

Mario A. Caro is a contemporary-art researcher, curator and critic who has published widely on contemporary Indigenous arts. His academic work complements his endeavours to promote global cultural exchange. He was curator at Alaska House, New York, and is currently curating an exhibition of Pacific Rim Indigenous artists for the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center. He is a Lecturer in the Art, Culture, and Technology Graduate Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Brett Graham is an artist whose work has been included in exhibitions all over the world, including the 2007 Venice Biennale, the 2006 and 2010 Biennales of Sydney, and Sakahàn, the 2013 survey of international indigenous art at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. He has also produced major public artworks throughout New Zealand.

George Hubbard has, since 1981, organised art exhibitions, written about indigenous art, designed postal stamps, and worked with artists and musicians in New Zealand and Australia. His exhibitions include Choice! (1990) and Stop Making Sense (1995).

Robert Jahnke (Ngai Taharora, Te Whānau a Iritekura, Te Whānau a Rākairo o Ngāti Porou) is an artist, curator and writer. He principally works as a sculptor, although he trained as a designer and animator. His work focuses on the dynamics of intercultural exchange and the politics of identity. He is Professor at Whiti o Rehua School of Art, Massey University, Palmerston North.

Robert Leonard is Chief Curator at City Gallery Wellington. His exhibitions include Headlands: Thinking through New Zealand Art (1992) and Mixed-Up Childhood (2005). He curated New Zealand’s representation for the Venice Biennale in 2003 and 2015.

Conal McCarthy is Director of Museum and Heritage Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. His books include Exhibiting Māori (2007), Museums and Māori (2011), Museum Practice (2015), and Curatopia: Museums and the Future of Curatorship (forthcoming, 2018).

Ngahiraka Mason is a contemporary-art curator based in Hawaii. She was formerly Indigenous Curator Māori Art at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Recent exhibitions include Gottfried Lindauer’s New Zealand and Middle of Now | Here, the inaugural 2017 Honolulu Biennial.

Mata Aho Collective is a collaboration between four Māori women who produce large-scale installations, commenting on the complexity of Māori lives. Their conceptual framework is founded within the contemporary realities of mātauranga Māori.

Darcy Nicholas is a Māori artist. He has curated and toured major exhibitions internationally. He was Creative Director for Maori Art Meets America (2005) and Māori Art Market in 2009, 2011 and 2014. He has been Executive Director of the Wellington Arts Centre and Central Regional Arts Council; Assistant General Manager, Iwi Transition Agency; and General Manager Community Services, Porirua.

Garry Nicholas is CEO of Toi Māori. He works in arts leadership, management, and governance. He is interested in developing indigenous-art exchanges through residencies, exhibitions and internships.

Nathan Pohio (Waitaha, Kāti Mamoe, Kāi Tahu) was a Walters Prize nominee in 2016, and is representing Aotearoa at Documenta 14 in Athens, Greece, and Kassel, Germany, in 2017. As an artist, Pohio calls upon Kāi Tahutanga in the face of colonial objectives—coded by cinematic histories, the practice of sampling, and by the avant garde of the West. As a curator, Pohio follows principles of Tikanga Māori and Kāi Tahutanga to bring a Kāi Tahu perspective to the exhibition and public programmes at Te Puna o Waiwhetū Christchurch Art Gallery.

Professor Piri Sciascia affiliates to Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāi Tahu. He was the executive officer organising the Te Maori exhibition in the United States and New Zealand. In 2016, he retired from Victoria University from his position as Deputy Vice Chancellor Māori.

Huhana Smith (Ngāti Tukorehe, Ngāti Raukawa) is an artist and curator, and is head of Whiti o Rehua School of Art, Massey University, Wellington. She was Senior Curator Māori at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa until the end of 2009. She is on the International Advisory Team for the Humboldt Forum, a new museum development in Berlin, opening 2019.

Taarati Taiaroa (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Apa) is an Auckland-based artist, educator and writer with a research-based practice that utilises archives to investigate small narratives, site, print and exhibiting histories. A graduate of the University of Auckland, Taiaroa holds Masters degrees in both Fine Arts and Museums and Cultural Heritage and is a lecturer in the Faculty of Creative Arts, Manukau Institute of Technology.

Awhina Tamarapa (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga) is a former Curator Māori for the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington. She is Principal Advisor Culture and Exhibitions for Horowhenua District Council and Teaching Fellow for the Museums and Heritage Studies Programme, Victoria University of Wellington. She has been involved in developing Piriharakeke Generation Inspiration Centre—a new cultural heritage community centre in Foxton, Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom—as an exhibition developer for its Māori Museum and Gallery.

Megan Tamati-Quennell (Ngāi Tahu, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Mutunga) is Curator of Modern and Contemporary Māori and Indigenous Art at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington. With a career that spans twenty-eight years, she has been at the forefront of many developments in her field, which she describes as ‘art made on the margin between indigenous and the mainstream’.

Tracey Tawhiao is a writer and poet, and has degrees in Classical Studies and Law. She is a painter and full-time visual artist. Tawhiao's tribes are Ngāi Te Rangi, Tūwharetoa and Whakatōhea. She lives in Piha, Auckland.

Tim Walker is a consultant working with arts organisations, government departments, iwi, and tourism operators. He has had three decades experience in the art-gallery sector, as a curator at Waikato Museum, senior art curator at National Art Gallery/Te Papa, and director at The Dowse. He is chair of Toi Whakaari, the NZ Drama School.

Anna-Marie White (Te Ātiawa) is a doctoral student at Victoria University of Wellington, researching histories of contemporary Māori art. She was previously Curator at the Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū, Nelson, specialising in identity politics in New Zealand art.

  • Date: 3 August 2017
  • Time: Thursday, 5-10pm
  • Cost: Koha

Art, music, films, books, wine, beer, food.

This month's line-up includes a live performance from French for Rabbits and a performance from Footnote New Zealand Dance. Designers and writers talk about their favourite Martino Gamper chair.

It is also the last chance to see Martino Gamper: 100 Chairs in 100 Days and Petra Cortright: RUNNING NEO-GEO GAMES UNDER MAME after dark. 

We are supporting the #reactivate Radio Active campaign. Half the donations from our August Open Late will be donated to the #reactivate campaign. So give generously. 


5-10pm see art after dark. Exhibitions Martino Gamper: 100 Chairs in 100 Days and Petra Cortright: RUNNING NEO-GEO GAMES UNDER MAME open

5–9.30pm Cash bar serving Tuatara beer and Seresin wine

5–10pm Food by House of Dumplings

5–8.30pm / 9.15–10pm DJ Don Luchito plays throughout the evening

6.30–7.15pm Talk: My Favourite Martino Gamper Chair with designers and writers Katie Lockhart (Everyday Needs), Simon Farrell-Green (Home magazine), Jen Archer-Martin (Massey University) and Tim Gittos (Space Craft Architects)

7.15pm Footnote New Zealand Dance performance

8.30–9.15pm Music performance by French for Rabbits

Footnote New Zealand Dance perform Tomorrow After All by Joshua Rutter. The company are fresh off the plane from Berlin, where they have been re-working Tomorrow After All especially for performance in galleries. The choreographer describes how the work 'privileges sensation over sense. Take time to soak up the slowly evolving atmosphere, or return periodically to see what has changed, the choice is yours'.

French for Rabbits is the project of New Zealand musician Brooke Singer and band. They formed in 2011, when Singer and guitarist John Fitzgerald began writing and recording lo-fi demos of ambient dream-folk in the small coastal township of Waikuku Beach. Now Wellington-based, they are joined by drummer Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa (Glass Vaults), and multi-instrumentalists Ben Lemi (Trinity Roots) and Penelope Esplin (Prophet Hens).


  • Date: 22 August 2017
  • Time: Tuesday, 7pm
  • Cost: $40 Adult / $20 CGW Friends and Concession

Arnold Bax (ENG): Trio in B flat
Jenny McLeod (NZ): Seascapes
Samuel Holloway (NZ): Corpse and Mirror (New Commission)
Beethoven (GER): Piano Trio in E flat, Op. 70 No. 2

Spiral promises forward motion and adventurous leaps into the unknown, including a new commission from New Zealand composer Samuel Holloway, who describes it as ‘a bold and obsessive exploration of self’. This collection of works is packed with introspective character (Arnold Bax), unseen currents of strength and depth (Jenny McLeod), and teetering precipices from which to safely test boundaries (Ludwig van Beethoven).

With guest violinist Natalie Lin.

$40 Adult / $20 Student & CGW Friends


  • Date: 24 August 2017
  • Time: Thursday, 6.30pm (doors open 6pm)
  • Cost: Free | FULLY BOOKED

A night of discussion from four women in politics under 40 years of age. We ask if the parliamentary system is working for younger women in Aotearoa New Zealand? If not, why not and what can be done to mix it up? 

With Jacinda Ardern (Leader Labour Party), Julie Anne Genter (Green Party list MP), Holly Walker (former Green MP) and Nicola Willis (National candidate for Wellington Central), and chaired by Megan Whelan (Radio New Zealand).

Any changes to the line up will be announced on the night.

Cash bar available before and after the discussion. 

This event is fully booked but it will be live streamed on RNZThe Wireless NZ and The Spinoff Facebook pages. The event will also be broadcast live on RNZ directly after Checkpoint from 6:35pm. So there are many ways to listen and/or watch if you can't be in the room. 

Presented by City Gallery Wellington and the Ace Lady Network with media partners Radio New Zealand and the Spinoff. 

26 August - 19 November 2017

Colonial Sugar

In the nineteenth century, hunger for the luxury product of sugar drove a new slave trade throughout the British Empire. In Australia, the Queensland government encouraged the establishing of sugar-cane plantations. Lacking the once-steady stream of convict labour, plantation owners turned to the Pacific for their labour force. From 1863 to 1904, 62,000 recorded people were taken from their homelands in the Pacific and enslaved on plantations. In 1904, under trade-union pressure, the Australian government passed the Pacific Island Labourers Act, which proclaimed sugar a white industry, leading to mass deportations of labourers who had arrived after 1879. Some were granted certificates of exemption to remain in Australia; others stayed illegally, sometimes by presenting themselves as Aboriginal. Today, their descendants are a distinct cultural group, referred to as Australian South Sea Islanders. In 1994, they were recognised by the Australian government as a unique minority group.

Wellington-based artist Jasmine Togo-Brisby is a fourth-generation Australian South Sea Islander. Her great-great-grandparents were taken from Vanuatu as children. Her sculpture Bitter Sweet (2015) was prompted by the discovery of an unmarked mass grave on a former plantation in Queensland. Installed on a plinth in a dark gallery, a pile of skulls cast in unrefined sugar and resin glisten under the gallery lights, giving off a sickly-sweet smell. Togo-Brisby says: ‘I'm interested in examining the effects of trauma transmitted through ongoing oppression across generations, particularly in contrast to the inheritance of wealth that has come to those who benefit from slavery and colonisation.’

Sydney artist Tracey Moffatt’s Plantation (2009) also evokes the history of Queensland ‘sugar slaves’, but reaches out to various cinematic and literary genres. This series of photographic diptychs feels like stills from a film that could have been set in any of the world’s sugar industries, including the Caribbean, the American South, East Asia, or Africa. With their familiar tropes—the big house, the burning crops, the black man looking on—they are full of implied menace. Moffatt says: ‘I think my Plantation photographs look like literature. The twelve diptychs are like twelve chapters—and they are repetitious storylines—chanting over and over.’ Moffatt is representing Australia in this year’s Venice Biennale.